KOLKATA: The Coronavirus scare has spread to Kolkata’s China Town, a pocket famous for authentic Chinese dishes and home to a crop of settlers who identify themselves as descendants of immigrants from the land of the dragon.
While the toll in the deadly virus outbreak in China has already crossed 200, one confirmed case has been reported in Kerala.
The outbreak has even resulted in the lockdown of several Chinese cities.
With fear rife around the deadly viral outbreak, several popular eateries China Town have reported a marked dip in footfall and over 50 per cent drop in daily business.
The pocket in east Kolkata is currently home to around 2,000 of Chinese origin.
The eateries, which once buzzed with customers, have been virtually going empty since word of the virus outbreak got out.
The restaurant owners said they last visited their homeland decades ago and even their relatives haven’t set foot to Beijing in the recent past.
“Most of my employees are residents of Kolkata. I procure all ingredients required for the food from the local market. I import nothing from China. This fear (of contamination) is unfounded. The panic over the disease is affecting my business. The footfall has dropped to half over the last one week,” Monia Liu, the owner of a restaurant, said.
Lee Chien, another eatery owner, said, “Only a handful of youngsters visit us now and then. Through them, we are trying to deliver a message that there’s nothing to fear and all is well with China Town.”